Tag Archives: bloggers

Shaming the Ship

20 Jan

If you’ve ever attended a movie premiere or book signing, you’ve probably heard someone squeal, “I totally ship them!”

I admit, the first time I heard this was at Cassandra Clare’s book signing in Kansas City over a year ago…and I was super confused. “Ship?” I thought. “Like a boat?” So here I am, picturing Dido singing, “I’ll go down with this ship.” Which, in retrospect, kind of works with today’s lingo. But at the time, a cosplaying Shadowhunter kindly explained to me what she meant, and I still dig her for it.

For those of you who don’t know, “ship” is short for “relationship.” Saying you “ship” a couple means you love those two characters being together. Yes, even when they’re sailing on boats. (Excuse me for my poor humor.) Fans can ship a couple that is actually together in the story or characters you wish were together. The term largely started in fandoms and fan fiction.

Is there a better photo for this article? I think not.

I’m totally for shipping whoever you want. I think it’s so much fun, even when I see people point out ships that are purely imagined. In fact, I’ve come across some ships that I had never even considered, but thought were awesome. (*cough, cough, Elsa and Jack Frost, cough cough*) It’s fan fiction heaven. That being said, there is always a negative side.

Recently, I’ve started to see people say things like, “If you ship those who aren’t together in the story, you’re a bad fan,” or “If you ship X and X, you promote abuse,” or blah blah blah.

Listen, I think it’s great to debate aspects of fiction, like how abuse is displayed. But “debate” is the keyword here. Just because one person feels a certain way about a character does not mean everyone should feel that way. One of the best parts of fiction is how malleable it is. A dynamic character could be seen differently by millions of people. Not to mention that fiction itself is fiction. Just because something criminal happens in a show does not mean it was criminal in the context of the show. Example? Take post-apocalyptic fiction. If it’s the end of world, and you see someone stealing from a store (or even killing another person), you automatically sympathize because survival, right? But if that character was doing that in our world, they’d be a bad person. In the context of a post-apocalyptic situation, the moral paradigm has shifted. Does that make anyone bad or good? That’s up for debate. *wink*

Sometimes, fiction is just fiction. Sometimes, a ship is something we sail on. It doesn’t have to have double meaning or be scrutinized beyond the fact that it’s purely entertaining. Just because a fan ships a couple on a show doesn’t mean they would ship them in a real-life situation. As an example, I thought I’d discuss a movie (hopefully) everyone has seen by now. If you haven’t, don’t worry. Just go to the next bolded line.

Spoilers for The Last Jedi beyond this point:

So, as many of you know by now, there was quite the shift in Kylo Ren and Rey in the last movie. Though nothing traditionally romantic happened (i.e. kissing), many felt their relationship was romantic in nature. Where it goes, no one knows, but that doesn’t stop the fandom from drawing photos, posting theories, and just plain ol’ fan girling.

Do I ship them? Yes and no. To me, I find their dynamic fascinating, which—as someone who is here to be entertained—is all I want in a story. So, yes, I love what happened between them in The Last Jedi, because I never saw it coming, yet it was believable, twisted, and exciting. But no, I wouldn’t encourage that sort of dynamic in real life.

Basically, if my best friend came to me and said, “This masked guy chased me through the woods as I shot at him, and then he knocked me unconscious and tried to read my mind. Later, I scarred him, and he killed his dad, but now we have a universe connection.” I would definitely not ship it. I would call the police. But Star Wars isn’t my best friend. Star Wars is a space opera. It’s not functioning on our moral constructs. In the setup of the fictional universe, you’re literally talking about a dark side and light side colliding in a space war. Of course unhealthy moments are going to happen. Does that mean you can’t enjoy the story? Maybe. Maybe not. If that ruins the story for you, that’s fine. If you want to debate it, go for it! But I draw the line at fans telling other fans what they can/should/want to enjoy.

Spoilers End

If you dislike a ship (or a story), by all means, we’re all allowed to our opinions, but I will always draw a line on those who shame others for enjoying (or disliking) a piece of fiction.

We’re here to be entertained and to have fun, and yes, there are times for debate. Yes, those debates are super important. I’m not telling you to stop debating. In fact, one of my favorite all-time quotes is, “The history books will tell what happened, but the art will tell them how we felt about it.” (Jermaine Rogers.) Debating art is society trying to encapsulate how they feel about current and past issues. Debating fiction is a natural response. All I ask is that we respect one another while we debate. No name-calling. No ship-shaming. Just a couple of fans having a reasonable discussion about how we feel about certain stories. Then, at the end of the day, we can enjoy our fandoms and sail off into the sunset on our preferred ships without trying to sink others.

Who are some of your favorite ships? (Actual boats allowed.)

~SAT

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Setting 2018 Writing Goals

6 Jan

Now that we’re a week into 2018, you’ve probably set new goals and you’re already striving after them. And that’s awesome! But I made a huge mistake while setting goals last year, and I thought I’d discuss it, so you don’t make the same mistake I did when you tackle your writing life this year.

So what happened? Last year, I set three goals (and failed them all), which you can read about here, but I thought I would focus on the goal of connecting with a literary agent. While I definitely spoke to a number of talented folks, I never quite found “the one.” I felt like a failure. But did I fail? I mean, I connected with amazing people! I finished manuscripts. I learned. I revised. I resubmitted. I never gave up. And doors are still open for me, even today. So, I shouldn’t have felt like a failure. I should’ve felt proud, because, even though I didn’t walk away with the shiny new contract, I walked away with more knowledge, connections, and opportunities.

Extra tip: Keep a planner to stay on track, but don’t plan too far ahead. That way, you can adjust if need be.

Where I went wrong: Setting the goal of “I will get a literary agent” was unrealistic. Why? Because it depended on another person, and that person is largely out of my control. Yes, I can always write more and better—and yes, I could always spend more time making connections—but just because you have a great book or idea or following or etc. does not mean you’ll find the right person to represent you and your work. Do I have room to grow? Always. But so do many repped authors. Signing that contract is a largely personal decision from both sides. This goal depends on two people, not just me, so while having the goal to connect with an agent is fine, my goal shouldn’t have been “get a literary agent by the end of the year.” It should’ve been “I will submit my work to # of agents who enjoy my genre” or “I will spend X hours a week researching the industry, so that I am more prepared to query next time around.”

Basically, I learned to set realistic and fair goals. What do I mean by that? Goals should revolve around work you can accomplish, not how others react to your work.

Common, unrealistic publishing goals: How large your advance is, how many copies of your books are distributed, how well something sells (because, seriously, even experts can’t predict why books resonate), and publishing contracts in general.

Solution? Set goals to learn, write more, and submit, submit, submit. Examples: I will read fifty books this year, I will write 10,000 words every week, I will try to connect with new beta readers by this spring, I will submit my manuscript by July, etc. But remember, publishing isn’t a race. While goals should keep you moving, they aren’t meant to be hard deadlines. If you find out you can’t write 10,000 words a week, that’s fine. Do what you can. Never let your goals hurt you. For example, “I will get a publishing contract by December” might negatively impact you, because you’re going to submit when you’re not ready just to meet a deadline you alone set. If you make a goal to meet something by January, don’t beat yourself up if you end up needing to extend it to February. Just make sure you’re ready. You can always edit your goals…and set completely new ones.

In fact, when I really think about it, I set goals all year around.

Whether its spring or fall, rain or shine, I’m constantly considering what I want to do next and/or how to accomplish it.

Actually, I’ve met two goals this year already.

  1. The Timely Death trilogy will be an audiobook with duel narration!
  2. I resubmitted a revised manuscript.

All goals take a lot of time and energy, and I’m really proud I’ve accomplished these two goals. Where those paths will take me, I have no clue, but I am ready to set more goals and move forward in a realistic and positive way.

What are some of your goals for 2018?

~SAT

#SATurday Book Releases explained by Sailor Moon

19 Sep

I love blogging. I love writing articles. I especially love writing articles that readers suggest. That being said, today’s article was inspired by reader, ‪Angela Dellisola‪. Her comment came on the release day of Death Before Daylight…after I made an entire batch of chocolate chip cookies to celebrate. I posted it on my Facebook page, but here was the initial comment: “Congrats! You must be beyond excited! Tired too, maybe, but a good tired…with all the back to back releases? I’d love to read a blog post on your author’s mind right now. J”

First of all, a GIANT thank you goes out to every reader, blogger, follower, writer, and supporter who shared the release. I hope you all are enjoying the finale as well!

But, yes, Angela isn’t wrong. I am exhausted. Beyond exhausted. (Hence all the coffee I was brewing and all the sugar I was baking.) I am thrilled Clean Teen Publishing agreed to release The Timely Death Trilogy back to back like they did, but there was a lot that had to be done to make that happen. Blog posts, guest posts, interviews, teasers, Facebook covers, newsletters, etc., etc. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve left my laptop at all. Even Luna-P is exhausted. (That is my laptop’s name in case you were wondering.)

These moments are rather funny in regards to an author’s life, so I thought I’d explain my time through gifs. Even better, since my laptop endured so much abuse these past three months—and since my laptop is named Luna-P after Luna-P in Sailor Moon—I’m telling my story through Sailor Moon gifs.

This summer and fall, I had three book releases back to back. It was AWESOME, but definitely a lot to keep up with. There’s a lot to do, so you’re always on your laptop. That’s when someone suggests you take a break. You know, go outside. Enjoy the nice weather…

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You’re too busy collecting a team anyway. You get your readers, fans, bloggers, and fellow writers together…because it’s time.

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But don’t forget the business side of things either. Swag, prizes, booths, etc.

(All worth it too! Which, by the way, I’m going to Penned Con next year in September of 2016!)

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So, the book releases and you’re so excited!
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And you’re exhausted too. So you sometimes forget silly things….when people are speaking to you.

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So you eat. Eating always helps.

giphy-13 That’s when someone congratulates you or posts a review or a number of other wonderful things. It means so much to you.

You actually blush.

You’re kind of glad this wasn’t in public.

Your face looks like a tomato.

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And sometimes people say mean things or try to bring you down.

(Crying to your cat helps. This is a fact.)

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But that’s what food is for. And friendship. And baths. 

(I made cookies.) 

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So, when all the craziness is done and over, you know you had a fun time with readers, writers, and fellow book lovers.

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In the end, that’s just how it’s done, and you enjoy it to the end of the world—the good, the bad, the awkward moments and cat-cuddled moments, the emails, the interviews, and the missing reviews. The broken links, the extra posts, the phone calls and texts. The tweets and WordPress friends and loving bookends. The prize giveaways, the winners, the ones who will stick around for a chance to win again. The ones who were always around and still around, and the news faces that have blended in. The newsletter crew, the street team view, and the fellow authors I’ve called friends. A group of people, all together, for one release moment, and you wish it never came to an end.

The book release is a book release, but it’s so much more than that.

It’s a celebration, a moment to be with all my Internet family and friends.

~SAT

Now for my little Dark announcements.

Poster_Small_V - Book shop signingAll three books in The Timely Death Trilogy are now available! The first book is even up for free. For those of you waiting for the paperback of Death Before Daylight, don’t panic! It releases on October 19. Speaking of October 19, you can expect my newsletter to go out then and from now on every month on the 19th.

On October 21, you can come see me at Headrush Coffee and Tea Roasters in Kansas City, Missouri for a paranormal talk and book signing.  It will be tons of fun!

Last but not least, the Seconds Before Sunrise tour is coming to an end, but here are all the lovely posts you should check out!

Guest post – Not Just Another Romance – on Mythical Books.

Interview with Kelly P’s Blog.

Spotlight on Dowie’s Place and Forget the Housework, I’m Reading

Seconds Before Sunrise Reviews on Black Words-White PagesEndless Reading, and Young Adult Book Madness!

Death Before Daylight Reviews on The Examiner and Tamara Morning.

Stay Dark,

~SAT

Quoting Other Bloggers

19 Nov

First, congrats to Tanya Taimanglo. She was the winner of my previous post, and she will soon be guest blogging on this website. Thank you to everyone who shared their inspirations.

And thank you to these two lovely readers for reviewing Minutes Before Sunset: (click the links to visit their pages.)

Press Pause, Fast Forward: “Now what I love most about this book, and practically in any other book, is the kick-ass heroine. I can always appreciate a female character whose purpose is not only to look cute and pretty in the arms of her leading man but to actually show some attitude and who knows how to fight back.”

Stephanie’s Book Reviews: “I liked the use of the double lives – that everyone looks so different in their Shade or Light form than they do in their human form. It made me look more closely at everyone that Jessica meets. I look forward to finding out who Darthon, the Light descendent, is as a human.”

Now, today’s topic:

As a blogger and writer, I think it’s proper etiquette to credit and link a blog that inspired a post. I actually mentioned this on my Facebook Author Page and asked, “What do you guys think? If you find a post you like and/or want to debate, do you think you should link to that blog or simply discuss the topic as is?”

Today, I am going to be elaborating on this as well as sharing some of your answers in regards to this question.

Again, my opinion is pretty simple: if you have been inspired by another’s blog post to write on the topic, I think you should credit the blog, especially if you refer to their post and/or use their examples.

I think it’s a win-win situation.

Your website will be seen as a blog that is continuing an important conversation as well as a writer who respects other writers enough to read and quote them. It will establish more followers from both ends. After all, bloggers will be more likely to link to your blog, too, and that will add to the connections of the community. What is there to lose if you quote them?

At this point, you might think this is an obvious and even strange topic to talk about, but the truth is sort of ugly. 

I read a lot of blogs, many of which are on WordPress. In fact, it’s one of my favorite pastimes. But I have seen blogs that have obviously copied from another’s—even going as far as using the exact same articles or even copying and pasting information. I think the worst offense is when a blogger refers to another blogger’s opinion out of context and does not offer a link for readers to visit in order to verify the information. No one wants to be misquoted, used, or put in a poor light. This is the main reason I think this: it’s the right of the second blogger to mention and argue another blog, but I also think the first blogger has the right to know so they can debate in a healthy and positive manner. By not linking to their blog, the first blogger may never know they are even being quoted. They may never get a chance to debate or even thank the second blogger. That’s where I have an issue.

I have to admit that I have had this happened to me. I do not feel like anyone has misquoted me (that I know of) but I have seen my exact examples and articles used over the same topic I posted about only a few days before. Although I am flattered, it also saddens me, because I work very hard at posting every other day. It sometimes takes me hours to find the perfect articles to link to. So, yes, it feels like I’ve been cheated when someone else has simply copied and pasted the information I provided. That being said, I am glad the conversations are continuing, whether or not someone feels like quoting me. Sharing the topic is my ultimate goal, after all. Most of the time, I simply want to thank you, even if you do not agree with me, which, for the record, I read every blog post that links to my blog and I always thank them for providing my information–again–even if they disagreed.

Here are opinions from my Author Facebook Page:

Participate on my Facebook, and your answers might be used next.

Participate on my Facebook, and your answers might be used next.

Joe H Hinojosa: I totally agree that you should give credit to the original blog, and post a link, even if you opinion differs from the original.

Quinten Rhea: as Artists & Writers we should always, always credit/link the source. It is just respect for others that took time to create something. I get annoyed when people post photos of Artwork with no title, no Artist name or source. I ask for the info & they mostly say :’ I dunno, I just like to picture’ If you like it, Like it enough find out the info & share it as well. {that’s my original 2 cents}

Jeanette Bailey: discuss as is….mind credit where credit is due works too…:o)

My call-to-action is as simple as my opinion: Let’s continue to enhance the WordPress family by helping one another. Please link to a blog if it has inspired you to write over a topic and/or if you are simply mentioning a blog to discuss or debate a topic.

Thank you.

~SAT

Why WordPress Is So Important To Me

27 Sep

Win over 20 novels in this Giveaway (U.S. Residents Only)

Today, I wanted to discuss why WordPress has become one of the most important communities in my life. (And that is not an exaggeration.)

As many of you know, my blog’s anniversary was this past Wednesday, but I didn’t want to take away from the celebration or the raffle with this post, so I decided to separate this post for today, and I wanted to go back to explain why this past year has become an introduction to all of the wonderful people (fellow writers, readers, and bloggers) that I love today.

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I started this blog, because Robin Hoffman, The Get Published Coach. She suggested it would be a great way to build a publishing platform, and I took her advice, unsure of what to do next. I reviewed novels, movies, music, and whatever else I thought would help me meet other writers. Within a few days, I met some great people, and I knew I had to dive back into the publishing world. I’d previously taken my first published novel, November Snow, off of the market in 2009, but I put it back up for purchase.

That was when my life changed.

On October 7, 2012, my roommate, Kristine Andersen, passed away. I hadn’t been able to blog, even though I’d promised to post every other day, so I made an announcement. This was my first experience of seeing how unbelievably kind and supportive all of you are. I received so many comments, and they truly helped me through a very difficult time. And you all have continued to help me through even more events I went through this past year, including the poetry collection I was featured in that December, which was dedicated to Kristine’s life. It was then that I knew I had to work even harder on the next novel I would release, because I wanted it to be dedicated to Kristine and Megan (also my roommate at the time.)

So I worked hard, and you all pushed me forward, reminding me how much you believe in the passion of all writers. I connected with more and more people, and I kept in contact with many of you on a regular basis, generally through email and comments. I’ve read your stories and your posts, genuinely inspired by how many loving people have come together to help chase everyone’s dreams, whatever they might have been.

That inspiration caused me to announce I’d be self-publishing Minutes Before Sunset in March of 2013. I held a cover contest, and, yes, the cover chosen from the competition is still the cover today. I was completely oblivious that AEC Stellar Publishing would contact me in April, and I would be signed with them shortly afterwards. I never thought I’d have Minutes Before Sunset in my hands as a paperback, and WordPress is truly what brought me to that opportunity.

In one year, I lost two loved ones (my roommate and my grandmother) but I also gained a family—a WordPress family—and you have been here with me through my poetry publication, my novel publication, and other events, like reading at The Spencer Museum of Art and my Undergraduate Reading Series. You voted for Minutes Before Sunset, and, because of that, my novel was rewarded Goodreads Book of the Month. After that, you continued to cheer me on when I announced I took a job as a Social Media Marketing Manager (or Wizard) for my publisher. You’ve stood by me, congratulating and supporting me during every step, and I know you are the reason I was able to take so many steps.

Since joining WordPress in September of 2012, it’s been a very eventful year for me, and I am proud to be a part of this wonderful community.

From the depths of my writer’s heart, thank you. 

~SAT

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